When Atlanta Braves infielder Sean Kazmar Jr. stepped up to the plate as a pinch hitter in the fifth inning of Saturday's game against the Chicago Cubs, it marked his first appearance in a major-league game in nearly 13 years.
Kazmar last played in the bigs on Sept. 23, 2008 as a member of the San Diego Padres. And while he grounded into a double play Saturday, his return was monumental.
"That was probably one of the greatest moments I’ve had as a manager at all the levels, quite honestly," Braves manager Brian Snitker said, according to Sarah Trotto of The Associated Press. "It’s amazing. You go from ’08 to 2021, in between, you’ve got to be kidding me, to have the perseverance and the dedication and the drive."
Kazmar wouldn't trade it for the world.
"It's crazy. At this time I was sitting at home on unemployment a year ago," he said, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN.
"It was worth the wait to get in and get another AB," he added.
Kazmar's gap between MLB games is the longest by any player since Ralph Winegarner, who returned after a similar absence in 1949.
Kazmar hit .205/.289/.231 in 19 games with the Padres in 2008 before spending over a decade in the minors. Split between affiliates for the Padres, Seattle Mariners, New York Mets, and Braves, Kazmar appeared in 1,106 minor-league games before his long-awaited return.